Dozens of staff at hamburger chain Byron have been arrested in an “intelligence led” raid by immigration officials.
The leading burger chain has been accused of “setting a trap” for its migrant workers after 35 employees were arrested and dozens more questioned in a series of Home Office raids.
Byron is alleged to have arranged for staff to attend a “fake” training day at its London restaurants where they were rounded up by waiting immigration officials.
During the operation, officers arrested 35 people from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt for immigration offences in order to progress their removal from the UK.
A spokesman for the Home Office confirmed that Immigration Enforcement officers carried out the intelligence-led visits on 4 July, and that the operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the business.
They said Byron Hamburgers had carried out the correct ‘right to work’ checks on staff members, but had been shown false or counterfeit documentation, adding that the business would therefore not face civil penalty action.
The firm has been blasted over its “disgraceful” treatment of staff as some have called for a boycott.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters have expressed interest in demonstrating outside a flagship Byron restaurant in Holborn in solidarity with the workers.
A Byron spokesman said:
“We can confirm that several of Byron’s London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office.
“These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation.
“At Byron we are proud of the diversity of our restaurant teams, built around people of all backgrounds and all walks of life.
“We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office’s requests throughout the course of the investigations leading to this action, and will continue to do so.”